HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Roland Kawakami

University of California at Riverside

The Anatomy of a Spintronic Device

Feb. 10, 2009

Since its inception, solid-state electronics has relied on the charge degree-of-freedom to store and process information. With the 1988 discovery of giant magnetoresistance and its remarkable impact on hard-drive technology, the question has turned to whether it is possible to utilize the spin degree-of-freedom in semiconductor electronics for superior performance in some aspect (e.g. speed, power, function, etc.). Although there are several proposals, the answer is unclear and probably relies on developing a deeper understanding of the basic properties of electron spin in semiconductors. In this talk, I will break down a semiconductor spintronic device into four basic processes (spin-injection, spin-transport, spin-detection, and spin-manipulation) and discuss their properties within the context of our research on spin in graphene. Through atomic-scale materials control and magnetotransport measurements, we are developing new insights in the recently emerging ferromagnet-graphene systems. Our success in the latter, as one of the first groups to achieve spin transport in graphene, is helping to establish a new field of research — graphene spintronics — which is attracting interest because it is the first semiconductor spintronic device to operate at room temperature and its unique band structure might generate unusual spin-dependent phenomena.